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Ed Reed out as Bethune-Cookman coach after 25 days, claims school will not ratify contract

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Former NFL star and Miami legend Ed Reed is out as the coach at Bethune-Cookman just 25 days after he was hired to lead the football program at the historically black university in Daytona Beach, Florida. Reed announced the news in a Twitter post from his foundation on Saturday that explained how a breakdown occurred between himself and the Bethune-Cookman administration.

“Bethune-Cookman University has been working with my legal team to craft contract terms with the language and resources we knew were needed to build a successful football program,” read the statement. “It’s my desire to not only coach football, but to be an agent of change that most people just talk about being. However, after weeks of negotiations I’ve been informed that the University won’t be ratifying my contract and won’t make good on the agreement we had in principle, which had provisions and resources best needed to support the student athletes.

“I was committed to coaching and cultivating a relationship with the University, Players, Community and the Fans,” he continued. “It’s extremely disappointing this won’t be happening.”

Earlier in the week, Reed apologized for the content of a vulgar rant about the resources of the Bethune-Cookman program that surfaced on social media. In his apology, he said his “language and tone were unacceptable as a father, coach and leader.”

Ultimately, it appears the relationship between Reed and Bethune-Cookman could not be repaired. Reed, 44, was hired on Dec. 27 after serving in off-field roles on Miami’s staff for the past three seasons. Reed replaced Terry Sims, who was fired in November after seven seasons, and his arrival was only the latest jolt of superstardom for HBCU football after Deion Sanders’ tenure at Jackson State.

The breakdown between Reed and Bethune-Cookman only underscores the seismic gap between HBCU football programs and FBS programs in terms of investment, facilities and overall resources. The Miami program that Reed played and worked for unveiled plans in December for a 162,000 square football football operations center that will cost more than $100 million. 

The cost of that facility alone is several times more than Bethune-Cookman’s annual athletic department budget, which is reportedly around $15 million. The football program also underwent cuts in recent years, according to reporting from HBCU Gameday.

“Although we couldn’t make things work at BCU, the goal and mission are still the same,” read the statement from Reed’s foundation. “We serve to lead – lead to serve. We will continue with our pillars [of] Respect, Educate, Empower, Dream. Our efforts will remain about the kids through our foundation via our health and wellness programs, camps and fundraising. We won’t stop changing lives for the better, as we’ve done for over 20 years!”




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